A famous cartoonist who touched the lives of many with his depictions of dementia and witty snapshots of everyday life has died suddenly.

Tony Husband, whose life's work was held in a special exhibition at Gallery Oldham in February this year, was one of the country's most famous cartoonists.

Speaking to The Oldham Times at the time, Tony told the exciting tale of his career which all began at Private Eye.

Tony worked for the magazine for more than 37 years, drawing a range of gag cartoons entitled 'Yobs' to accompany its news pieces and where he captured a growing fan base and loyal audience in return.

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He then went on to appear in multiple newspapers over the course of his life, including The Times, Daily Mail, Sunday Express and a range of magazines, from Playboy to The Spectator.

He was also a co-founder and editor of the influential and "anarchic" comic strip, OINK, in the 1980s which was described as reminiscent of Viz for children for its tongue-in-cheek and sometimes controversial humour.

The Oldham Times: A snippet of some of his work at OINK which was on display in Gallery OldhamA snippet of some of his work at OINK which was on display in Gallery Oldham (Image: Newsquest, Olivia Bridge)

Making the announcement on X, formerly known as Twitter, Tony's son, Paul Husband, said it is "with a torn apart heart" to reveal his father died of a heart attack on Wednesday, October 18.

Paul wrote: "My dad passed away as he was on his way to a Private Eye leaving party on a Thames barge.

"He had a heart attack on Westminster Bridge."

He added: "It's somewhat ironic that he somehow managed to survive 30 years of Private Eye parties but the one he didn't make...

"I don't know what more I can say other than he was everything to me and everything want to be."

Paul also shared the "very last cartoon" the talented artist made.



The cartoon seems to show Tony standing on Westminster Bridge, waving at the barge that has left for the party without him.

Paul said Tony sent the cartoon to his friend, Nick Newman, when he was on the train to the event because "he thought he would be late".

On the day Tony came to Oldham for the launch of his exhibition, the gallery was buzzing with chatter and giggles from attendees who flicked through the prolific display of Tony's life works.

While many of his cartoons depict humour in the mundanity of everyday life, from working, raising children and relationship troubles to humankind's love of animals, especially dogs, Tony's work also held a mirror up to modern society and how digital devices have permeated our world.

The Oldham Times: Tony often drew witty illustrations about everyday life and people's love of petsTony often drew witty illustrations about everyday life and people's love of pets (Image: Newsquest, Olivia Bridge)

Examples of this are shown in his illustrations "Alexa", where the smart device seemingly becomes irritated by a request from its owner, to a cartoon of a man snapping a selfie alongside a coffin. 

During the exhibition, attendees got to meet and speak with the man himself and Tony spared some time to speak to The Oldham Times about his colourful career.

He said he loved art and drawing and just had a "natural flair" for it as a schoolboy but it wasn't until 1984 when he became a full-time cartoonist and went on to bag jobs for the Private Eye and The Times where he also worked every day for 20 years creating a sports cartoon.

The Oldham Times: Tony told The Oldham Times 'Beatles in the early years' was one of his favourite cartoonsTony told The Oldham Times 'Beatles in the early years' was one of his favourite cartoons (Image: Newsquest, Olivia Bridge)

When OINK was born in 1986, Tony admitted it "wasn't popular" as it was threatened to be banned in Ireland and received backlash from butchers in Portsmouth.

"So we called it "Pork'smouth", Tony joked, "And we were mentioned in the House of Commons about this 'disgraceful' magazine and WHSmith put us on the top shelf because they didn't know what to do with it.

"It was a great, crazy time."

The Oldham Times: His hard-hitting dementia collection conveyed the highs and lows of seeing a loved one battle the diseaseHis hard-hitting dementia collection conveyed the highs and lows of seeing a loved one battle the disease (Image: Newsquest, Olivia Bridge)

After OINK faded away just three years later, Tony went to work on the children's TV series, Round the Bend, with Hattrick Productions and Spitting Image puppets and even toured the country with poet, Iam McMillan.

He continued: "I'm always looking for new ideas and I'm always trying to find things.

"I just love it. I just love what I do."

When asked what influences his cartoons, Tony said a great source of his inspiration came from everyday life.

"About families, about people's relationships with pets, children, work, sports, just with a bit of surrealism as well and a bit of strangeness - a bit quirky", he added.

But Tony was also a fierce advocate for raising awareness of dementia and a huge proportion of the Gallery reflected his dedication to the cause.

The illustrations were hugely personal to Tony and his experience of dementia as he watched his father suffer and die from the disease.


His cartoons, which map the highs and lows of watching a loved one deteriorate with dementia, struck a chord with attendees who found the snippets relatable to their own experiences.

While he illustrated Gina Award's book about dementia, entitled "United", he also wrote and published his own called "Take Care, Son" which documented his own dad's journey.

Tributes have since been flooding in from people who knew Tony.

Television presenter, Richard Osman, wrote on X: "So sad to hear of the death of the wonderful cartoonist Tony Husband, a man whose work has made me laugh so many times.

"Humour with such tremendous wit and warmth."

Another friend and fellow illustrator, Stanley Chow, added Tony was "one of Britain's greatest cartoonists" and described him as a "legend, yet so humble".

"But most of all, just one of the kindest and soundest souls you'll ever meet", Stanley concluded.

Ian Beesley, a photographer whose work also hangs in Gallery Oldham, wrote: "Tony Husband - funny, kind and inspiring. A great talent and my friend created some of the most wonderful work supporting those living with dementia.

"Always generous with his time and talent."

If you have a story, I cover all things Oldham from food reviews and local business news to music and events, pubs, education, crime, property, health, community concerns and much more. Please email me at Olivia.bridge@newsquest.co.uk or send me a message on Twitter @Livbridge with your news.